The 2012 Allsvenskan campaign concludes on Sunday and all that stands between IF Elfsborg and the club's sixth Swedish crown is complete meltdown.
Two points clear at the summit and unbeaten at home all season, Elfsborg host mid-table Åtvidabergs FF in the knowledge victory will wrap up the championship.
Coach Jörgen Lennartsson entered the post-match press conference after Thursday's 3-2 triumph at Mjällby AIF breathing a great sigh of relief – and with good reason.
He had watched his side squander a 2-0 lead before finally snatching a win, which, coupled with Malmö FF, BK Häcken and AIK dropping points, left the Boras outfit on the brink of their first title since 2006. "I need to breathe a bit," were the first words from Lennartsson's mouth. "Football is fun."
Elfsborg's merriment began when Lasse Nilsson and Anders Svensson put them two up midway through the first half. The home team pulled one back before the break and equalised in the 62nd minute. Instead of panicking, though, Elfsborg promptly found a third goal through Viktor Claesson.
Later, Lennartsson went so far as to let his players indulge in something usually outlawed from a footballer's diet: junk food. "Normally after an away match we eat a nourishing meal before heading home, but this time we're getting pizzas," he said.
Three more points will clinch the championship, but goalkeeper Kevin Stuhr-Ellegaard is taking nothing for granted. "Nobody else is going to help us," said the 29-year-old. "It's all about getting the job done ourselves."
Only second-placed Malmö – held 1-1 by lowly Örebro SK on Thursday – can catch Elfsborg. However, not only are Malmö two points behind, their final fixture is fraught with difficulty – they visit fourth-placed AIK, who are targeting a European spot and keen on giving a fitting farewell to Råsunda as an Allsvenskan venue. Sweden's national stadium will soon be demolished and replaced by a new purpose-built arena barely a kilometre away.
The title chances of Häcken, the term's surprise package, ended on Thursday when they drew 1-1 with AIK, now their rivals for a UEFA Europa League berth. At the bottom, the fate of GAIS Göteborg and Örebro is already sealed, leaving GIF Sundsvall and Syrianska FC in a straight battle to avoid a relegation play-off against the club finishing third in the second tier.
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